110 CBA Volunteer Attorneys on Call as ‘Eyes and Ears’ for Secretary of State at Polls
Thursday, November 3, 2016
Posted by: Connecticut Bar Association
CT SECRETARY OF STATE: CBA'S VOLUNTEER ATTORNEY ELECTION ASSISTANCE PROGRAM A ‘VALUABLE RAPID RESPONSE TOOL’
110 CBA Volunteer Attorneys on Call as ‘Eyes and Ears’ for Secretary at Polls
HARTFORD, Conn. (November 2, 2016) – On Election Day 2016, 110 trained volunteer attorney members of the Connecticut Bar Association will be on call to assist the Secretary of the State should legal issues arise at the polls.
In her November 2 pre-election press conference at the Connecticut State Capitol, Secretary of the State Denise Merrill highlighted the benefits of the CBA’s Secretary’s Legal Assistance Program (SLAP), remarking that “it gives this office a valuable rapid response capacity to look into Election Day problems.”
“It’s a very valuable program for us,” Secretary Merrill said. “It’s a neutral, non-partisan program and now a model for the nation in ability to gather facts on the ground when issues occur.”
Now entering its fourth year, the CBA created SLAP jointly with the Connecticut Secretary of the State’s office to ensure that no voter is disenfranchised. SLAP is designed so that if a problem arises at a polling place, a CBA volunteer lawyer on call will be dispatched to determine what the issue is, report it to the Secretary, and then communicate her directives on site.
Monte E. Frank, president of the CBA, said the Secretary of the State’s office has just four lawyers on staff, so it would be impossible for that office to cover Connecticut’s 169 towns.
“That’s why the Connecticut Bar Association plays such an important role,” Frank said. “Our lawyers will be the eyes and ears of the Secretary of the State.”
SLAP epitomizes the CBA’s goal of advancing justice and defending the rule of law, Frank noted.
“There is nothing more fundamental to our democracy than the right to vote,” he said. “Through this program, we are able to expand the reach of the Secretary of the State on Election Day and provide another measure to make sure election rules are followed so that the people of Connecticut are able to vote without confusion, interference, or intimidation.”
For more information on the press conference and how the Secretary's Legal Assistance Program can help, visit ctbar.org/CBAnews